Police officers with a strict law-and-order ideology hold up better under public animosity than their more empathetic peers
Updated On: Nov 30, 2018
Seattle PD, where officers are quitting in droves amidst strong anti-police sentiment

New research from Shefali Patil of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas seeks to answer a vital question: "If police believe that the communities they serve and protect view them less than sympathetically, does that affect how well they perform their duties?"

Using survey data and analysis of BWC footage, Patil found significant differences in job performance and satisfaction between officers who accept an adversarial model of police/community interaction and those who embrace a more compassionate, rehabilitative brand of justice. When their effort, motivation, and character are mischaracterized by the communities they serve, the former are unfazed, while the latter become disillusioned and underperform.

The data point to a bleak reality: more adversarial officers are more successful in more antagonistic communities, creating a cycle of mutual contempt and hostility.   

Patil suggests specific policy changes to remedy the cycle

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